The Virus of Fear

Cuban Baby
Cuban Baby / CC Cubaraw


Looking at the small scar on my left shoulder, I imagine that the vaccination given to us when we are babies might contain the virus of fear.

The virus then grows in us, penetrates as deep as into our bones, hardly allowing us to breathe. We speak softly, keep looking over the shoulder, and fall silent if a stranger comes near. We cast a yes vote for the deputy of the district, even though we know that he won’t do hardly anything for us and that the elections are a farce. We eat chopped beef tendons and udders, sow the moringa plant and wear yellow ribbons.

Men neglect the needs of their families when they are summoned to participate in military mobilizations. We all take the abuses of Police and State inspectors without saying a word, we have resigned ourselves to power cuts, we inform on our neighbours because that’s what the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution want us to do, we work for a minimum salary, aware of being remorselessly exploited.

We attend political meetings to applaud our leaders, knowing that they are much more interested in defending their own interests than in doing something to fight hunger and shortages that make our lives a misery.

All this is happening and the inventors of the vaccine have satisfied smiles on their faces. One thing alarms them, though. Yet, there’s one thing that alarms them: finding out that some of us have become immune to the virus of fear, that some of us have resigned our membership in State mass organizations, stopped voting in sham elections, ceased to grow the moringa plant or failed to wear the yellow ribbon. And it’s not only that: some of us even have the nerve to create independent political organizations demanding freedom and democracy. Some of us have the courage to denounce the abuses committed by the Castro regime and its followers both in Cuba and before the international public, create independent libraries and go to streets in broad daylight to call for freedom and respect for human rights. Some of us are not afraid to say aloud that Cubans deserve a better future, one that would ensure political and economic freedom in the land where we were born.

The inventors of the vaccine are alarmed when they discover that their interests are at risk and resort to drastic methods to reinstall the virus in people. These methods involve blackmail and slander, threats, arbitrary detentions and even quarantines in the provincial prison at kilometre 5.5. The most hopeless cases are sent into exile. All this is done to stop the resistance to the virus from spreading.

I look at my scar and I smile, because I believe it is impossible to suppress a person’s natural desire to live in freedom. Faced with the collapse and disintegration of the supposed achievements of the government, such as health care and education, people start to realize that it’s only fear that has deprived them of the possibility of living in their homeland with dignity and with a feeling of being masters of their own destiny.

From the independent bulletin VUELTABAJO PRESS

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